Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Cool Dude

Today we saw a Northern Flicker in the front yard. He was foraging in the grass. The one we saw was actually a Red-shafted male because it had the red cheeks, black bib and red stripe on its tail. Apparently they're one of the only woodpeckers to find food primarily on the ground. He was really pretty with a gray head and dark tan forehead and spots all over.

Pop! Goes the Sparrow

I put out some popcorn in the back this morning. The word must be out because there are so many House Sparrows on the feeder and on the ground that they are literally fighting for space. They seem to be taking turns, though, because they're constantly flying and landing again.

I'm sure we have 200 different kinds of sparrows, but it's hard to identify them when they all look so much alike.

Saturday, November 2, 2002


Wow, I can't believe how many different birds we've seen--and keep seeing!! Today we saw a new hummingbird. He's been hanging out all morning in the tree out front. I could never cut down those dead trees in the front because of how many different birds are attracted to sitting in the branches.

Our new visitor turns out to be a Black-chinned Hummingbird. It looks exactly like the picture in the field guide. He looks smaller when he's flying, but when he's sitting there perched in the tree, he's really chubby and kind of pear-shaped. It was neat seeing a totally different looking hummingbird than all the rest.

He's still sitting out there, keeping close to the feeder...

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Magpie Visitors

We saw a pair of magpies today in our backyard! It was so incredible because up until now we've only seen them around the grocery store and the field next to it. They were rummaging around for insects. The yellow on their heads almost looks like a mask and they have really long tails. They only stayed for a few minutes and then flew away.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

All Shook Up

Yesterday I looked out the kitchen window and saw an interesting bird sitting in the tree out front. It was pretty large--about the size of one of our Scrub Jays. He was preening all of his feathers and sat there for about ten minutes. It almost looked like a cat had gotten a hold of it because it was "all messed up." The poor thing had some kind of ordeal because its feathers were all cockeyed and crooked.

It had an all brown face and eyes and a long tail with white underneath. It had black feet and a long thick black bill. The closest thing we could find to it in the field guide is some type of Kingbird. But it also could have been some sort of Flycatcher, which it also looked similar to.

This morning in the backyard we saw a pair of European Starlings again. They are really incredibly beautiful birds with spots and iridescent colors that shine in the sun. I can't help but wonder if they're the same pair we saw in the same spot a few months ago.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Coastal Dreams

Stayed the night in Fort Bragg on the coast. We saw lots of seagulls. There are about 27 different types of gulls in my field guide and it is difficult to determine what specific types we saw because some look so similar.

While exploring the tide pools at a state park, we saw a group of Black Oystercatchers. They made quite a lot of noise, probably to protect their babies from us. The babies were very brown.

We also saw some small type of blackbird rummaging around the parking lot at a nearby marshy lake. The closest thing in the field guide is the Eurasian Blackbird because of the orange eyes.

Saturday, August 10, 2002


We went camping in Mineral at Gurnsey Campground. Saw lots of Scrub Jays. They sure are aggressive. They stole bread scraps and peanuts from the chipmunks!

Sunday, August 4, 2002

Kamikaze Hummingbirds

We constantly have Anna's Hummingbirds at our feeders. They're usually in pairs in the backyard playing, dive-bombing and chasing each other through the obstacle of trees in our yard. They chase each other through the patio making us duck down! One I saw today had an all red shiny head with a white stripe around his neck and the rest of his body was green. I also see the mostly brown ones that I assume are the females.

It's so hard to get a really good look at these magnificent little creatures because they move so quickly. I've also seen all green ones, too. The pictures online and in the field guide are hard to match to what I've seen.

I put some bread scraps around all three feeders and all the birds seem happy to have found it. The scrub jays are scavenging in the back yard now. Insects must be easier to see in the freshly mowed grass.

P.S. I haven't heard the mockingbirds for about two week now. Can't say I miss their obnoxious behavior!

Monday, June 24, 2002

Stop mocking us!!!

We saw a flock of yellow-billed magpies today in the parking lot at the grocery store. They are very large, strikingly pretty birds with really long tails. Their black feathers were iridescent green and purple in the sun.

Yesterday in the backyard, the scrub or Steller's jays were chasing away the mourning doves.

We are still plagued by the Northern mockingbird. He sits atop the telephone poles throughout the neighborhood and sings non-stop. Very loudly! These pesky birds flutter skyward and tumble back to their perch like a backflip in the air. They sing well into the night and we have seen them (or actually HEARD them) all over town.

*correction: Our scrub jays are Western scrub jays. Ours do not have the black crest and have grayish/white underparts.